Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation
Although the body has been the focus of much contemporary cultural theory, the models that are typically applied neglect the most salient characteristics of embodied existence—movement, affect, and sensation—in favor of concepts derived from linguistic theory. In Parables for the Virtual Brian Massumi views the body and media such as television, film, and the Internet, as cultural formations that operate on multiple registers of sensation beyond the reach of the reading techniques founded on the standard rhetorical and semiotic models.
Renewing and assessing William James's radical empiricism and Henri Bergson's philosophy of perception through the filter of the post-war French philosophy of Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault, Massumi links a cultural logic of variation to questions of movement, affect, and sensation. If such concepts are as fundamental as signs and significations, he argues, then a new set of theoretical issues appear, and with them potential new paths for the wedding of scientific and cultural theory. Replacing the traditional opposition of literal and figural with new distinctions between stasis and motion and between actual and virtual, Parables for the Virtual tackles related theoretical issues by applying them to cultural mediums as diverse as architecture, body art, the digital art of Stelarc, and Ronald Reagan's acting career. The result is an intriguing combination of cultural theory, science, and philosophy that asserts itself in a crystalline and multi-faceted argument.
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1 The Autonomy of Affect
Where Body Meets Image
3 The Political Economy of Belonging and the Logic of Relation
5 On the Superiority of the Analog
6 Chaos in the Total Field of Vision
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a√ect abstract action activity actual architecture autonomic back-formation becoming biogram body body’s chaos chaos theory chapter cognitive color combinatoric confound connection context continuity cultural studies deﬁned deﬁnition determinate di√erent di√erential dimension e√ect elements emergence emotion empirical empiricism essay Euclidean Euclidean space event event-space excess experience experimental expression extended feedback Félix Guattari ﬁeld ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬂesh ﬂow ﬂower fold functions Ganzfeld Gilbert Simondon Gilles Deleuze Guattari human immanence inﬁnity intensity interaction Isabelle Stengers limit logical matter mode modulation motion movement nature object operation particular perceived perception philosophy Ping Body position possible potential process line proprioceptive qualitative quasi corporeality Reagan reality reﬂection relation relationality relay scientiﬁc self-referential sensation sense Simondon singular space spatial speciﬁc Stelarc suspension synesthesia synesthetic theory things thought Thousand Plateaus tion topological trans transductive transformation unfolding unity University Press variation virtual vision visual words